Over 300 delegates, representing Councils in all states and territories attended the 8th Biennial National Local Government Community Development Conference in Perth on 20-23 March. Titled ‘Riding the Rapids of Change: Skills and Values for Developing Cohesive, Just and Vibrant Communities’, the Conference was jointly hosted by the Local Government Community Services Association Australia (LGCSAA) and its Western Australian Division.
A National Local Government Salinity Summit will be held in Moama-Echuca on 17,18 and 19 July 2001 to identify practical solutions to the impact of salinity on roads, buildings, services, water quality, land use and the general community.
The recent announcement that the Cities of Albury and Wodonga are set to join as the first ’national city’ in this our Centenary of Federation, was the outcome of yet another historic event – a joint meeting of the New South Wales and Victorian Cabinets, the first since the State border was established 150 years ago. Yet, interestingly enough, national media coverage of the announcement, with the two Premiers posed for photographers under their respective half of the border sign, gave little heed to the involvement of the two City Councils and even more so their local communities.
Councils around Queensland are again preparing for the celebrations of Local Government Awareness Week to be held from 28 May to 3 June 2001. The aim of the Week is to raise a positive profile of the sphere of Local Government, to encourage community participation and to raise morale within Councils through community acknowledgement.
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has appointed Ian Chalmers as its Chief Executive. With qualifications in political science and economics, Ian was previously the Executive Director of the Australian Private Hospitals Association.
The Blue Haven Retirement Village commenced operations in 1979. It is fully owned and operated by Kiama Council, located on the south coast of New South Wales. The complex offers three levels of accommodation, 40 nursing home beds, 30 hostel units and 115 self care units.
The City of Thuringowa in north Queensland, has a population of 51,000 and annual growth of 3.3 percent. With 36 percent of the residents under the age of 19, and 70 percent under the age of 44, it is necessary to provide community facilities as quickly as possible.
Lead local – collaborate global - The Good Oil by Rod Brown * The biggest talking point in Canberra is the gurgling sound of the Aussie dollar and how the Howard Government will deal with looming recession. But why wait for the Commonwealth to show the way? There is much that can be done at a grassroots level, and Local Government can be a key player.
When the Rural City of Wangaratta, the Alpine Shire and the Indigo Shire collaborated to develop the award winning ‘Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail’, they never expected that their project would receive national recognition.
Active Australia Local Government Network Councils will be invited to take part in an evaluation of the network to help improve support to Councils in providing sport and physical activity services. The research project will seek feedback, via a questionnaire, about Councils’ sport and physical activity provision, their understanding of Active Australia and how the Local Government Network can be improved.
An Inclusive Leisure Centre Project involving the Cities of Banyule and Whittlesea and the Shire of Nillumbik, through the Access For All Abilities (AAA) Program commenced in 1998. The aim of the program is to develop and support sport and recreation environments that are inclusive of, and accessible to, people with disabilities.
Parliament House Canberra will be the home to one of the most technologically sophisticated communications structures in Australia with the announcement that Telstra has won a tender to provide a multi million dollar telecommunications upgrade.Telstra has partnered with Alcatel to undertake the upgrade, which will include the multi award winning next generation voice communications system Alcatel OmniPCX 4400, to significantly increase the telecommunications capabilities and capacity in Parliament House.
Hobart City Council and the City of Perth have been recognised at the annual Australian Business Excellence Awards, presented by the Australian Quality Council. These awards acknowledge outstanding organisational performance, in both the private and public sectors, as measured against stringent evaluation criteria.
Mornington Peninsula Shire Council in the south east of Melbourne has an extensive road and infrastructure network. “There are at least five different sorts of ground conditions within the municipality, as well as a variety of climates and traffic volumes,” said Graham Gregson, Pavement Asset Officer.“The question is how to make better decisions about maintaining roads and getting value for the dollars spent.”
Community groups and Local Governments have been invited to apply for a new round of grants aimed at encouraging the development of new approaches and initiatives to improve road safety and reduce road trauma in Western Australia.
For many years Tasmania’s Clarence City Council, has run an annual clean up – a kerbside pick up of household rubbish including large items, such as fridges and old mattresses. Clarence City Council recognised that the Clean Up, while a valuable service to residents, could be replaced by an innovative solution, which better reflected modern waste management practices. The new ‘Dial-A-Garbo’ concept, where residents who wanted to participate in the collection were asked to ring Council and make a booking, saved $10,000 of ratepayers’ money in its first year. The saving was one third of the cost of the old annual clean up system.
Local Government in the Territory is moving to a new era. The result will be a system of local governance that provides for better representation and control for people locally of the services that they depend on.
You cannot tour the other States and identify the best practice models for adoption by the Northern Territory. We are too different for that. Different in terms of the physical landscape running from the driest deserts to the tropical coast, or in terms of the land forms, and the economies they can sustain, or in terms of the land tenure arrangements.
The Current Methodology for the Calculation of Grants for the 68 Local Governing bodies in the Northern Territory has been heavily scrutinised, and has not been reviewed for 10 – 15 years. The total renewal of the funding methodology has been long overdue and would involve a great amount of research. One of the first steps to create a new methodology is currently in the making. The Department of Local Government, more than any other department, recognises the importance of a review of the current and outdated funding methodology.
In April last year, Cabinet approved the revised methodology for the distribution of the Northern Territory Operational Subsidy. This subsidy provides the main financial support to non municipal local governing bodies to assist them in the provision of Local Government services.
New accounting code – a foundation for management and monitoring The introduction of a new accounting code for all Territory Local Governments will have value for Councils trying to manage increasingly complex budgets. At the same time, it will enhance the capacity of the Department to more effectively monitor the financial and service delivery performance of Councils.
After wide consultation with animal welfare groups, councils, the pastoral industry, native wildlife bodies and Territorians generally, a new Animal Welfare Act was brought into effect last year. The Minister for Local Government has carriage of this legislation.
The Territory will achieve a number of objectives with a recent decision to enter into whole of government partnership agreements with local Councils. Director of Advice and Support, Mike Rennie, said that the partnership agreements will progressively establish the basis for a new and productive relationship at a whole of government level between the Territory and individual local Councils.
Cooperation between funding agencies and Councils in remote areas is the key to generating maximum possible outcomes from the considerable amount of money available for delivery of physical infrastructure in rural and remote areas. The trick to generating employment and training opportunities at a local level in rural and remote areas of the Territory is scheduling funding and project management so that it keeps a work flow at a reasonably constant level.
Aboriginal Community Councils in the Territory have always been small. The Territory has provided a unique method of incorporation for them – community government. While they have always had a wider range of responsibilities than other municipal Councils they have always struggled for recognition as ‘proper’ Local Government. Proposals for change in a number of areas will create Councils that are no longer ‘little’.
Ongoing commitment of Local Government in the Northern Territory The Department of Local Government is demonstrating the ongoing commitment to Local Government in the Northern Territory to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.
A project based on a photographic survey approach is being developed by the Department of Local Government in an effort to increase the amount of strategic planning and involvement of the community in the development of community directions.
The Indigenous Housing Authority of the Northern Territory (IHANT) The Commonwealth Government, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and the Northern Territory Government provide funds for housing to improve the living conditions of Indigenous people in the Northern Territory. These funds are pooled and provided to the Indigenous Housing Authority of the Northern Territory (IHANT). IHANT is responsible for policy and program development in addition to the allocation of funds to eligible housing organisations. IHANT is accountable to the funding agencies for achieving effective housing outcomes. In turn, organisations that are given funds are accountable to IHANT for achieving the required outcomes.The Department of Local Government is joint Program Manager, with Territory Housing for IHANT. The Department of Local Government manages the delivery of funds and programs and Territory Housing manages the budget and funding aspects for the Authority. ATSIC and Territory Housing provides Secretariat services to the IHANT Board.
Located just five minutes north Adelaide’s CBD, the City of Prospect has a population of 19,000 people. It offers all the advantages of inner urban living in a family orientated environment. Renowned for its emphasis on community arts and culture, Prospect is a great place in which to live, work, shop or enjoy leisure activities. “We are proud to call ourselves a ‘creative community’" said the Mayor, Mrs Kristina Barnett. “At the same time, this is a caring community where people feel very comfortable.”
North Sydney Council has unveiled a new seawall which researchers believe will increase Sydney Harbour’s biodiversity. Working with the Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities Research Centre (EICC) and John Nixon Engineering, the new wall aims to address concerns that the Harbour’s sea life was at risk due to coastal development.
Dalby Town Council, located in south east Queensland, 220 kilometres west of Brisbane, is continuing to develop its gas reticulation business for the benefit of consumers and residents. Dalby, population 10,000, is one of only two Councils in Queensland that reticulates natural gas.
Australia’s love affair with the coast ends abruptly at the beach according to the results of a national survey of estuary users. Most admit knowing little or nothing about local estuary issues and only three percent are aware that estuaries have some kind of management plan.
Over 300 delegates attended the 2nd National Rural Roads Congress in Mildura on 26-27 March. Representing Councils across Australia, they resolved to build a case for adequate long term ongoing funding for local roads. President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Councillor John Ross, said that this resolution would support future road funding lobbying.
IPWEA/RTA Local Government Road Safety Project Grants are once again available for New South Wales Council road safety activities. Grants of around $5000 are available for projects with a planning, behavioural or educational focus. All Councils are encouraged to submit grant applications. Joint submissions from a number of Councils are also welcome and may be eligible for larger grants.
DON’T DUMP IT, YOUR OLD MGB IS VALUABLE Sulo MGB Australia P/L has for many years led the Australian market in the manufacturing and marketing of Mobile Garbage Bins (MGBs) in both quality and innovation. Sulo has now ‘closed the loop’ in the making of the MGB, through the addition of a new Sulo operation dedicated to the recycling of plastic containers and turning them into new MGBs. Whilst the technology involved is not new, the ‘closed loop’ approach of Sulo is a first for the Australian market.
Commonwealth-industry ‘Green Plumber’ backed by Victorian Local Government Local Government in Victoria has thrown its support behind a Statewide grassroots move to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Plumbers are working with the Australian Greenhouse Office to provide Victorians with the most efficient heating and cooling appliances.